Harry Strehlow, Kurt-Johannes Peters:
Applying Integrated Natural Resources Management to Sustain Coastal Fisheries


Humboldt-Universitšt zu Berlin, Department for Animal Breeding in the Tropics and Subtropics, Germany

Vietnam's coastal waters feature high bio-diversity and rich fishery resources. The selected study site, Nha Phu Lagoon is characterised by massive degradation of coastal fishery resources. As a result rural livelihoods in coastal communities are threatened. Since households in these communities not only depend on coastal resources but also have various other forms of income outside the fishery sector a multi-sectoral approach is necessary. A multi-sectoral approach not only addresses all these issues but also takes account of the complexity and diversity of the resource system and its users. Integrated Natural Resource Management (INRM) is one multi-sectoral research approach that aims to develop innovative and flexible management forms to manage natural resources in a more sustainable way. The applied INRM-approach is characterised through strong interdisciplinary and participation. Interdisciplinary means that socioeconomic and institutional aspects, e.g. resource"=user groups and existing legal arrangements are combined with biological as well as production system aspects, e.g. stock assessment as well as aquaculture or gear"=fishing techniques. The focus lies on the identification of multiple equal important starting points to improve natural resources. Through the integration of biological and socioeconomic aspects, complex problems were identified within the coastal fishery resource system and its users during a six months investigation period. In group"=discussions and interviews reasons for the destruction of fishery resources were gathered, e.g. trawling, population increase and pollution from shrimp ponds. This information was then shared with participants, which led to new insights as well as alternative resource management strategies. Illegal trawl"=fishermen for example were said to be extremely poor and therefore needed to be treated with great tolerance despite their negative impacts on coastal fishery resources. But during follow"=up visits it was discovered that illegal fishermen often belonged to middle"=class households around Nha Phu Lagoon and that lax enforcement rather encouraged illegal fishing and punished those fishermen using traditional fishing methods. The participatory approach induced awareness"=building and strengthened local decision"=making structures. Considering sociological, political, economic and biological elements in the coastal fishery resource system could lead to more sustainable resource management in the future.

Keywords: Aquatic resources, Coastal fisheries, integrated natural resources management, Vietnam

Full paper: http://www.tropentag.de/2004/abstracts/full/380.pdf


Contact Address: Harry Strehlow, Humboldt-Universitšt zu Berlin, Department for Animal Breeding in the Tropics and SubtropicsGermany, e-mail: harry.strehlow@gmx.de
Andreas Deininger, September 2004